Saturday, June 7, 2008

girl with the laughing face

I love this candid photo of Marilyn. Not sure of the photographer's name, year, or location. But that snapshot casts my imagination aloft and...I just wonder...
There she was, and having been out the whole morning shooting lively subjects like glistening park benches, brown tree lines, and a pesky juggling street mime(yes, without balls) I wanted to murder anyway, I had just the one shot left in my bulky Vagabond 120 camera.

Having stepped out of the hot Sun into the cool lazy ceiling fans of The Jazz Kitchen, I immediately saw her blonde hair. And I spied a table with one empty chair next. Stealthily moving in that direction, with the help of a distraction by the ensemble starting their next number up on the narrow bandstand lit only by bicycle lamps, I found myself with a slight offset lane directly in front.

The Jazz Kitchen was a wonder. Old dusty Railroad lanterns of burnt red, flouresent green, and dull yellow were displayed on an upper ledge behind the wooden bandstand and shiny steel counter. Huge windows, reminding me of the open air on an ocean cruise ship, gave me all the back light I could ever hope for. Probably too much light for the sniffing and squinting pale woman sitting next to me. I'm guessing the wife of the undertaker.

The Girl was too smart for the easy shot and had me pegged from the outset, even after I pretended to scan the glossy bulk of a menu with my heart pounding. Since I knew my opportunity was short I looked for an opening, perhaps a thoughtful 'peering into the distance' shot while she was conversing with her friends. But, damn it, she was staring at me every time I lined up a shot. Then it occured to was her playfulness; once, briefly, she buried her face in her sweater. She didn't mind the least bit.
I!.that's good, baby!..released the shutter and captured her light.

My confidence soared. My burger and fries platter with an inedible side pickle arrived, Johnny and His Silver Band were jammin' in fine foot-bobbing form, and I got an idea to move in. The ketchup bottle! I rose and moved towards her table. She was the only one there that made eye contact with me. Steady unbroken eye contact.
"May I borrow your ketchup?" I asked, my nervous upper lip stuck to my teeth.
"Gently tap the neck with two fingers."
"The waitress showed me."
"Oh. Thanks. OK."
She winked.

And, quick it seems, she was gone in a wink. At the front door she looked my way once more. And she was laughing.

Returning the next day without my camera, hoping to see her again, Johnny, the dark mysterious lead singer and bass player behind those seemingly impenetrable shades, sat next to me at the counter after sweating a number that sounded like music Marilyn would've loved to shake her hips to from the caper film across the street at The Moving Picture, raised his shades, and almost in a whisper commented, "her ass is lovelier than most women's faces." He grabbed a toothpick, nodded, and returned to the stage.


Blogger Bill Stankus said...

I think you got it right - a secretly grabbed shot of MM. Nice story.

If anyone knew where the cameras were - she was probably the one with the best radar.

6/07/2008 6:24 PM  
Blogger willow said...

I was right there in the Jazz Kitchen, Phil. Nice sketch.
She was photogenic, wasn't she?

6/07/2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Blog Princess G said...

I always enjoy reading you Phil. :)

The camera loved her. I love her too! She's endearing and sweet and gorgeous and sexy. An older gentleman from my theatre group (since deceased) met her briefly. She was filming Niagara in... Niagara and he was an extra. She sat in a chair near him while her makeup was being retouched and he said her skin was indescribably luminous (makeup notwithstanding). You can see that in her movies.

6/07/2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger the drifter said...

Thanks, I'm glad you all enjoyed it. :)

6/09/2008 9:03 PM  

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